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Pension fund sophistication and investment policy

Author

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  • Jan de Dreu
  • Jacob Bikker

Abstract

This paper assesses the sophistication of pension funds' investment policies using data on 748 Dutch pension funds during the 19992006 period. We develop three indicators of sophistication: gross rounding of investment choices, investments in alternative sophisticated asset classes and home bias'. We find that pension funds' strategic portfolio choices are often based on coarse and possibly less sophisticated approaches. Most pension funds, particularly the medium-sized and smaller ones, round strategic asset allocations to the nearest multiple of 5%, similar to age heaping in demographic and historical studies. Second, many pension funds invest little or nothing in alternative asset classes besides equities and bonds, resulting in limited asset diversification. Third, medium-sized and smaller pension funds favor regional investments and as such not fully employ the opportunities of international diversification. Finally, we show that pension funds using less sophisticated asset allocation rules tend to opt for investment strategies with a lower risk-return profile.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan de Dreu & Jacob Bikker, 2009. "Pension fund sophistication and investment policy," DNB Working Papers 211, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:dnb:dnbwpp:211
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. V. Bouvatier & S. Rigot, 2013. "Pension funds' allocations to hedge funds: an empirical analysis of US and Canadian defined benefit plans," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(26), pages 3701-3710, September.
    2. Dirk Broeders & Paul Hilbers & David Rijsbergen & Ningli Shen, 2014. "What Drives Pension Indexation in Turbulent Times? An Empirical Examination of Dutch Pension Funds," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 41-70, March.
    3. J.A. Bikker & T. Knaap & W.E. Romp, 2011. "Real Pension Rights as a Control Mechanism for Pension Fund Solvency," Working Papers 11-15, Utrecht School of Economics.
    4. Jacob A. Bikker & Dirk W. G. A. Broeders & David A. Hollanders & Eduard H. M. Ponds, 2012. "Pension Funds’ Asset Allocation and Participant Age: A Test of the Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 79(3), pages 595-618, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pension funds; investment policy; portfolio choice; gross rounding; heaping; diversification; home bias; alternative investments; behavioral finance;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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